Countdown to Valve’s Hardware Announcement is On
Internally, Valve calls its Linux-powered hardware “Bigfoot.” We’ll finally get a look at this seemingly mythical beast starting today.
As we learned on Friday, Valve has three announcements lined up about its efforts to bring PC gaming to the living room. The first of these steamy “Steambox” statements is set to arrive in T-minus four hours (1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific), finally shedding light on the hardware that we’ve been speculating about for more than a year. I figured now would be as good a time as any to come right out and say it: I don’t want a living room PC.
I already have a beastly gaming rig as well as a decent laptop, so buying a third, likely expensive gaming PC specifically for my already smart living room, even if it is from Valve, would be overkill.
I do, however, want to play PC games on my 60″ TV while sprawled out on my living room couch. Sure, courtesy of Steam Big Picture mode, I could be doing that right now if I wanted to lug my full-tower case around or string cables all over the house. I don’t. I want the best of both worlds, and that’s why I’m hoping Valve won’t simply announce the so-called Steambox this week, I’m hoping it will also blow a kiss to PC gamers like me who simply want to bridge the gap between their existing hardware and the living room.
Here’s what I’d love from Valve: a tiny, wireless set-top box specifically designed to stream games from my existing PC to my living room TV at low latency and featuring a new type of controller that combines keyboard and mouse precision with console controller functionality. Price it at $200 or under, and I’m in. No big deal.
The good news is, Valve says it is including exactly that type of device in its Steambox plans. Gabe Newell himself said as much in an interview last year with The Verge:
“The thing we’re working on with [Nvidia] is that you’ll be in your living room and your TV will potentially be connected either through wireless or ethernet. You’ll pick up a controller and Big Picture will come on. It’ll be integrated into all the TVs after a certain point, it’s like HDMI+. The problem to solve is how to interact with a web browser, how to get all the games to support controllers, and how to make it all seamless.”
I’ve demoed Nvidia’s Shield, and while I thought the handheld featured impressive technology and performance, the heavy, overly clunky Xbox 360-controller clone definitely isn’t what I had in mind. Here’s to hoping Valve has solved the problems Newell outlined while managing to create the controller I envision. Otherwise, Gabe and crew will have to make one hell of a pitch to get me to shell out big bucks for another gaming PC and convince me the future of PC gaming is Linux.
We’ll hear that pitch, and finally get a glimpse at Bigfoot, in just a few hours.